Back Issues

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Established 1979
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(cover illustration)

These are the back issues of Red Rag. They'll be posted here every (usually) two weeks on or around the anniversary of their original publication. We're currently reissuing 1986; the latest issue is dated January 12th (scan / txt); the next one is due out on the 26th.

Red Rag, or Reading's only newspaper, had a noble tradition of misspelling, mixed metaphors, wrong facts, confused political judgements and a readership of 4000. It printed practically everything it got sent ("except poetry and party political broadcasts, provided it isn't racist, sexist, militarist or otherwise supportive of oppression"). It aimed to provide a decent alternative coverage of local news and issues from a radical non-aligned position; to promote subversive and creative initiatives; to provide a forum for unorthodox views; to allow some sort of co-existence between a huge variety of interests. An indispensible source of local information? a forum for the self-indulgent and self-important? a continuous experiment in collective, de-centralised organisation? Who knew? But in over six years it had never sold a single copy.

In this issue (scan / txt): in its manual for use against the government of Nicaragua, the CIA prints a guide to making Molotov cocktails; the New Statesman copies their graphic and later Red Rag reprints it. But this is a quiet news week in Reading and both the Post and Chronic lead with "Fury at DIY Bomb Guide", failing to mention any CIA connection and taunting local police to find a charge to throw at the Rag. Far from being a week of spontaneity and creativity, Abiezer's solstice celebrated apathy and distorted anarchy; girls who take a taxi home are "asking for it"; after a 5 year campaign by Friends of the Earth the Department of Transport relents on its plans to cut the M40 through Otmoor; and they're shooting the pigeons in Reading.